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Drug Testing News
Getting Around Drug
Tests is New Industry
By Stuart Shepard, correspondent
February 19, 2003
A lot of companies give their employees drug tests, but the
growing practice has also started something of a cottage
industry that help workers hide their drug use.
It's an escalating war between the testers and the cheaters.
As workplace drug testing becomes more and more common, the
emergence of products to pass such tests also increases —
fueled in part by Internet sales.
Audrey Anderson contends it's a violation of your
constitutional rights to be tested for drugs. So, she sells
products — everything from detox tea, to shampoo, to
prepackaged urine samples — that purport to help drug users
pass those tests.
"(The urine samples are) synthetically created in a
laboratory, quite frankly," Anderson said.
She calls drug testing a multi-billion dollar industry based
on junk science.
"Drug testing does not in any way test for impairment," she
Anderson said the real question is whether a person can safely
do the job.
"If employers really wanted to know if a person was suitable
to work, they would do a nine-dollar hand-eye coordination
test that is really indicative of whether a person is suitable
to work, or if a person is impaired," she said.
Dr. Brent Hale, of Blomquist-Hale Consulting, assists
companies that do drug testing.
"Whether or not a person believes they are under the influence
of the substance, there is a likelihood that their judgement
could be impaired — particularly, situations that require
immediate reaction," Hale said.
He admitted there's a raging technology race between those who
test and those who cheat.
"What seems to be happening is that they'll get away with it
for just a little while, because some of (the cheating
technologies) actually do work. But the testing laboratories
are playing the same cat-and-mouse game."
Hale added current tests not only detect drug use, but they
can also ID products used to throw off a test.
He also cited research showing the accident rate for substance
abusers is as much as 500 percent higher than other workers.
His organization conducted a study in Utah that estimated the
cost of substance abuse amounted to about $3,000 for every
family in the state, every year.